The Alchemy of Treason

The Alchemy of Treason

The World of The Lost gets a little darker, in The Alchemy of Treason. *** I got as low as I could and continued my inch-by-inch skull drag, moving into a slightly lower fold in the ground, shielded from the sentry by several stands of nearly two-foot-tall grass. I still had to move very slowly—even more slowly than I already had been for the last two hours. I was a good twenty yards away from him, but that was plenty close enough to get spotted or heard if I wasn’t careful, even in the deepening dark. I might have heard something off to my right. Maybe a grunt, suddenly cut off. Santos was supposed to be over there. Maybe he’d moved faster than I had. The last of the faint remaining glow in the west had faded and the stars were glittering in the black sky overhead when I finally rose to a low crouch. Firelight glinted faintly off the dark, satin steel of the Bowie in my fist as I quickly scanned my surroundings before padding as silently as I could toward the sentry, his back now to me. The fire still flickered, though most of the Avurs were now proned

Swords Against the Night

Swords Against the Night

I didn’t have time to think that through before the keel scraped on what felt like solid ground. If we hadn’t been backing water, slowing precipitously already even before the mist had engulfed us, everyone aboard the ship would have been thrown to the deck by the abrupt halt. We had just run aground, in the middle of deep water, miles out to sea. After a moment, as I regained my equilibrium after the shock of that impact, I realized it felt like we were rising, being lifted above the water level. When I lurched to the rail and peered over the side, I saw only wet rock and silt beneath us. An island was rising out of the ocean, stranding the entire ship high and dry. It was still emerging, too, as the ground beneath us shuddered and shook like an earthquake. The shuddering stopped. The mist seemed to thin, but only to reveal more flat, slimy rock, strewn with some seaweed and what looked like the flopping bodies of fish or eels. Strangely, the mist only appeared to be thinner off to starboard, where it had first appeared. The port side was still engulfed in gray. The wind

Terror and Corruption: Marque and Reprisal is Out!

Terror and Corruption: Marque and Reprisal is Out!

Surface To Air “Kev! Up!” Wade had pivoted, bringing his MCX up as the second helo made a pass at the stern. Bullets smacked into steel and fiberglass around them, and both Blackhearts ducked, Curtis throwing himself flat just below the lip of the helipad. He rolled over onto his back as the bird went by, wrenching the EVOLYS around and sending a burst at the receding aircraft’s tail. He couldn’t tell whether he’d hit it or not. Levering himself to his feet, he hauled the EVOLYS up and searched for the helo. It was nose down, making tracks fast, banking off to the west, far astern of the yacht. I still might be able to hit it. He shifted to the aft rail, bracing the machinegun and tracking in on the fleeing helicopter. He squeezed off a burst, but his range was off. Red tracers arced just beneath the bird, which jinked hard to avoid the fire and dove even closer to the water, turning away from the Dream Empire and banking violently from side to side to avoid the gunfire. He fired one more burst, but between the helicopter’s motion, the widening range, and the yacht’s own rolling

The Explosive Conclusion – Option Zulu

The Explosive Conclusion – Option Zulu

  The lead elements of the PLA assault took their time approaching the university. Hank was up on the top floor, all too aware that he was a lot higher up than he wanted to be if the shelling started in earnest, watching as the first armored vehicles edged out of the trees and began spreading out across the fields to the north of the campus. Mostly painted in the weird blue, green, and gray PLAN marine camouflage, the first ZBD-2000 light tanks and ZBD-05 amphibious assault vehicles crept out onto the open ground, PLAN marines using the vehicles for cover as they advanced. They were moving more slowly and cautiously than Hank had expected. Maybe they’d taken more losses on landing than they’d anticipated. That slow, cautious advance wasn’t going to help them as much as they might have hoped. A tank’s main gun thundered off to his left as one of the dug-in M60A3s opened fire at what amounted to point-blank range for a tank. The Taiwanese had been upgrading their aging M60 and M48 tanks over the last few years. That particular M60A3 down there was covered in reactive armor and sported a 120mm main gun, instead

Into Shadow – Darkness and Stone is Out

Into Shadow – Darkness and Stone is Out

The coast had just come into sight, a faint, dark line to the north beneath the lowering gray clouds, when the sea serpent hit us. I looked up at Eoghain’s cry and saw him standing in the high, swan-carved prow, pointing off to the starboard side. I hadn’t caught the words over the wind, but the tone of alarm was unmistakable. I snatched up my M110 from the sea chest at my feet and started working my way across the deck to join him. If it had been the marksman rifle that I’d left behind on the USS Makin Island, I probably would have had it in a waterproof bag, slathered with silicone spray. But King Caedmon’s Coira Ansec, the mystical cauldron that could produce ammo, weapons—whatever you asked for, really—produced some fine firearms. That thing was practically impervious to salt water. The deck of Nachdainn’s ship was neat, every line, chest, and tool in its place, but that didn’t make it clear. It took me a minute to cross to the prow, where I joined Eoghain, Bearrac, and Gunny Taylor at the gunwale. Gunny was already up on his rifle, peering through the scope. The whole platoon had switched

Shadows and Crows is Here

Shadows and Crows is Here

Weird, sonorous chanting rose from the beach. As I got behind a massive, ancient oak and got on my rifle, I saw that the corsairs had formed a shield wall in a great crescent around the largest of the beached ships. The ships themselves were high-prowed, black-painted and carved with snarling beasts. They looked a bit more Mediterranean to my admittedly unpracticed eye than Viking. But neither name had any meaning here, anyway. The shield wall surrounded a knot of raiders, kneeling and swaying around an emaciated, hunchbacked figure draped in black rags. I couldn’t make out his face, as it was hidden beneath a deep, black cowl. But pale, crooked arms reached out from the rags wrapped around the figure’s shoulders, fingers like claws grasping at the sky as the figure twitched and spasmed, as it continued that droning, buzzing chant. I might not have been the best-versed in the magic and monsters stuff, but I knew a threat when I saw one. And we’d all seen enough in the north to know that sorcery was a very real threat. I put my crosshairs on the twitching figure in rags and took up the slack on the trigger. Two

The War’s Not Over – Power Vacuum is Out!

The War’s Not Over – Power Vacuum is Out!

A large part of the Maelstrom Rising series has been aiming at how a next world war wouldn’t necessarily look like most people think. Power Vacuum drives that home, as it becomes clearer that Thunder Run was far from the end in Europe. The European Defense Council Has Fallen… …But Peace Has Not Come to Europe Will the Chaos Only Spread from Here? The thunder run into Germany has left Matt’s team battered and borderline combat ineffective. The Triarii don’t have the reinforcements for them to stand down, however. Commitments in the US and the Western Pacific have stretched them thin. And with Europe in chaos, there is no rest to be had. Jihadis have struck repeatedly, sowing bloodshed and confusion where possible, and it appears the Turks are involved. The Russians are pushing in the east, and they may have operatives in the heart of Western Europe as well. The European Defense Corps hasn’t stood down, either. And a new NGO that’s arrived to help might be the most dangerous enemy of all… *** Hybrid Warfare. It’s become something of a buzzword. There are books written about how it became a buzzword (One in particular, that proved to be a massive waste

Interviews about the Ice and Monsters Launch

Interviews about the Ice and Monsters Launch

So, for the launch of Ice and Monsters, the first WarGate Books title outside the Forgotten Ruin series, I went on a few podcasts and interviews lately. First, we had a launch party on the Galaxy’s Edge stream on Tuesday night: Then came the Blasters and Blades podcast, with JR Handley, Nick Garber, and Cisca Small (JR’s got jokes, even in the title): And this afternoon, I was on Keystroke Medium with Josh Hayes and Scott Moon: I’ll be on the Superversive stream on Sunday, at 6pm CST. Overall, this launch has been a blast. Got my first orange #1 Best Seller tag. Looking forward to Shadows and Crows coming out a month from tomorrow.  

Ice and Monsters

Ice and Monsters

We hadn’t gotten far before that fog bank rolled up out of nowhere. I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was that weird to start with. Fog is fog. And we were all pretty good at nautical navigation that far into the float. I had my compass board on the gunwale, sure that I was holding course. So, we were fine. Sure, the night was supposed to have been clear. But who really trusts the weather forecasts in the “Situation” paragraph one hundred percent? The fog got thicker, and I eased off on the throttle. Within a couple dozen yards, I couldn’t even see the boats on either side of us, though I could still hear them. I glanced down at the compass, which was still rock-steady. We were good. We just had to go carefully because of the reduced visibility. At least, that was what I thought until we were still chugging through the waves, shrouded by fog, well after the time we should have been at the beach landing site. I started to question my judgement, but it wasn’t like we had a lot of reference points in this soup. The bearing had been spot on since we headed

Blood Debt Is Live

Blood Debt Is Live

No Going Back He looked up at the towers, just in time to see one of the ballistic windows on the eastern corner tower slide open. He didn’t think. He just reacted. The only reason for one of those windows to open would be that they’d been spotted, and were about to take fire. Snapping his rifle to his shoulder, he leaned around Bianco’s shoulder, put the faint, red chevron in the ACOG, still illuminated despite the fact that the optic was so old that the tritium had to be half depleted already, on that dark rectangle in the top of the tower, flipping the weapon to “semi” and squeezing the trigger as soon as the chevron settled. The M4 thundered in the otherwise quiet night, spitting flame in the dark as Bianco flinched away from the muzzle blast. Wade leaned into the rifle, dumping four more rounds into the opening even as Kirk opened fire on the other tower, if only to cover Wade’s back. They were committed, now. *** Mercenaries strike a hidden base… …But it’s a trap. Now they have only one hope – Brannigan’s Blackhearts When Mitchell Price’s black bag team hit a mysterious former Soviet